Guwahati: The Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vending Association (MGSPHSVA) has termed the government's move to declare Khyndai-Lad and Motphran areas as no-vending zones as "illegal."
In a statement issued by the association on Monday, it took affront at the statement made by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong regarding the hawkers' situation.
"No one can declare vending and no vending zones except for a duly elected Town Vending Committee (TVC) with 40% representation from genuine and longstanding Hawkers and Street Vendors. Moreover, natural & heritage markets like Police Bazaar, Motphran, Laitumkhrah etc cannot be no vending zones," the body added.
The MGSPHSVA further stated that it is "shocking" that the government is using the humanitarian crisis unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic to unleash "illegal actions" against the poorest and most marginalized sections of Meghalaya's economy -- namely the hawkers and street vendors.
The association also brought the government's attention to the fact that the law which governs hawking and street vending in India is the Central Act called 'The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014' and the rules made under it.
"We would also like to remind the government that all its actions vis a vis hawkers and street vendors are illegal," it said.
It said the act provides for the constitution of a Town Vending Committee (TVC) in every local authority (Chapter VII, 21 (1)) which has the responsibility to maintain records of hawkers ((Chapter VII, 26 (2)), provide a certificate of vending (Chapter VII, 26 (1)) and carry out the necessary social audits (Chapter VII, 26 (3)).
It is the TVC and no other authority, neither the Municipal Board or MUDA or the Urban Affairs department which has the power to decide on the eligibility of a hawker to conduct his/her business or otherwise, it said.